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Heat warning issued: Residents advised to take precautions

Jul 28, 2022, 09:00 AM

(Updated July 28, 2022) Environment Canada has issued a heat warning for the east coast of Vancouver Island, including Nanaimo. The City is advising residents to prepare for an upcoming period of hot weather throughout this week. It is especially important for young children, pregnant women, older adults, people with chronic illnesses and those working or exercising outdoors to take precautions during heat waves.

The Province of BC released a guide with steps citizens can take to plan ahead for heat, which include:

  • Relocate to a cooler location if you are able to
  • Reconfigure the coolest location in your home so you can sleep there at night
  • Check in with your pre-identified heat buddy. If you don’t have one, reach out
  • Put up external window covers to block the sun if you can safely do so
  • Close your curtains and blinds
  • Ensure digital thermometers have batteries
  • Make ice and prepare jugs of cool water
  • Keep windows closed between 10 a.m. and 8 p.m. Open them at 8 p.m. to allow cooler air in, and use fans (including kitchen and bathroom exhaust fans) to move cooler air through the house

Here are some other tips to stay cool:

  • Stay hydrated - drink cold beverages, preferably free of alcohol, caffeine and sugar. Here is an online map of drinking water fountain locations where you can fill up a water bottle.
  • Dress appropriately- avoid dark colours and heavy layers. Wear a hat, loose fitting clothing, sunglasses and sunscreen when heading outdoors.
  • Splash around - we are fortunate to be surrounded by many water sources from the Salish Sea to lakes and streams. Check out the Parks search app for some swimming gems in Nanaimo. Please make sure to practice water safety principles in and around water and, especially in high flowing rivers. In addition, the City has four water parks for kids to enjoy and misting stations have been set up in Maffeo Sutton Park, Beban Park and the lower picnic shelter area in Bowen Park
  • Cooling spaces - our recreation facilities (Beban Park Social Centre, Bowen Park Complex, Nanaimo Aquatic Centre, Nanaimo Ice Centre and Oliver Woods Community Centre) offer air conditioned lobbies to cool down in and we have drop-in public swimming and skating sessions available. In addition to City facilities, Nanaimo's libraries and shopping centres (Woodgrove Centre, Nanaimo North Town Centre, Country Club Centre) offer air conditioned spaces. 
  • Slow down - avoid strenuous activities.
  • Look for shade - avoid direct exposure to the sun. The City has wide range of parks and open spaces to get some shade.
  • Avoid hot cars - never leave your children or pets in a hot car.
  • Stay connected with your friends and neighbours - check on older people and those who are house-bound for signs of heat-related illness.

Extreme Weather Supports for Vulnerable Populations
The City and other service providers are working together to support community members including those who are homeless including water bottle distribution at the following:

  • Unitarian Shower Program @ Caledonia Park (110 Wall Street)  – 7 am to 12 pm
  • Salvation Army New Hope Centre (19 Nicol Street)  – 10 am to 12 pm & 3 pm to 4:30 pm
  • Also available via outreach:
    • City of Nanaimo Bylaw
    • Nanaimo Region John Howard Society Outreach Team
    • CMHA Mid Island Outreach Team
    • 7-10 Club Society Outreach Meal Program

According to Island Health, the following is a list of symptoms of heat-related illness to watch out for:

  • pale, cool, moist skin; 
  • heavy sweating; 
  • muscle cramps; 
  • rash; 
  • swelling, especially hands and feet; 
  • fatigue and weakness; 
  • dizziness and/or fainting; 
  • headache; nausea and/or vomiting; 
  • fever, particularly a core body temperature of 40° C (104° F) or more; 
  • confusion and decreased mental alertness; 
  • hallucinations; red, hot, dry skin (in the late stages of heat stroke); 
  • seizures; and 
  • unconsciousness/coma.

For more information on heat-related illness, visit Health Link BC or dial 811.

Keep Pets Cool
Make sure to keep your furry friends cool in hot temperatures. Here are some tips from the BC SPCA on summer pet safety. Dogs can also cool off in a designated off-leash area where there is access to the water such as the Cable Bay Trail and Invermere Beach.

Be FireSmart
The risk of wildfires goes up as the temperature goes up. Residents are also advised to ensure all smoking materials are properly extinguished, don't throw lit cigarettes or other smoking materials out the car window and smoking is not permitted in any City park or on City trails. Find more information on how you can prevent wildfires by visiting FireSmartbc.ca

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